With the increasing popularity of young and attractive actors, actresses and idol stars in Korea, there is a rise of a bbasoonee culture, which refers to individual fans being overly infatuated with a particularly celebrity. Bbasoonee fans are not just regular fans who regularly attend concerts and opportunities to possibly meet celebrities. They are those who memorize birthdays and other personal details, collect photos and videos of them and dedicate time to sending gifts and writing letters, hoping that the celebrities will respond someday. In order to provide such fans a chance to fulfill their dreams, Gimme corporation recently released the app Gimme the Playground, which is a social networking app that enables one-on-one interactions between fans and celebrities. While such virtual interactions may allow both fans and celebrities to develop seemingly deeper relationships with their counterparts, the unreliable and illogical nature of this app is apparent.
In advertising the app, Gimme corporation claims that users can feel a more intimate connection with celebrities by leaving voice messages and sending fan letters to them. Although some dedicated fans may truly believe that such messages are reaching the celebrities, most are experienced enough to know that this is not the case. Practically speaking, celebrities may not even have the time to check tangible gifts and letters; instead, they have their managers check and reply for them. This is made even easier on a mere phone application, where others can reply for the celebrity in a much more convenient manner. While this may make the days of some fans, Gimme corporation rather cleverly targets naïve bbasoonee fans who are willing to do anything to engage with celebrities.
In addition, Gimme the Playground creates unnecessary competition and rivalry with other fans by setting up games. Users can either play against each other or their favorite celebrities, but most users will opt to play with each other to be ranked higher. The reason users can become so easily addicted is that there are concrete rewards for being ranked higher than some of the other fans—they receive more attention from the stars! Since Gimme the Playground ranks users every month, they must make the best of this opportunity to appeal to the celebrity and win their attention. The user ranked highest may even receive a voice or video note from the celebrity. Even though there is no way to confirm that the celebrities themselves are playing the games or sending the messages, such games convince bbasoonee fans that it may indeed be them.
Gimme the Playground can be a fun, useful app for fans wanting to contact their favorite celebrities, but Gimme Corporation overstates the reality. The truth is, celebrities are already tied up by their busy schedules and they already have to keep their other more mainstream social networking sites and apps updated such as Facebook and Instagram. The idea of “one-on-one” interaction through an electronic app is rather ridiculous.